Socio-Economic Development of the Georgian Regions- Chosen Theoretical Approach

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The geopolitical location, natural resources, history, and domestic situation make Georgia a subject of interest for researchers in a range of scientific disciplines. The necessity of an analysis of the regional development in Georgia is demonstrated by the problem of deepening regional disproportions and the process of depopulation of the peripheries, including high mountainous areas that are valuable in terms of both nature and culture. Understanding the specifics and mechanisms affecting the level of development of individual regions allows the researcher to choose concepts that will best explain the process. This stage is crucial for the identification of the factors in development. The way the process is understood is also very important in the programming phase of development policy by local and central authorities, e.g. when setting the main goals and directions of their actions. The aim of this talk is to present an original approach to research on regional development in Georgia, based on a number of complementary theories of regional development. The proposed mix of concepts has not been used previously in the context of the Georgian development path. In my choice of theoretical foundations, I rely on three theories of regional development: (1) The concept of growth poles - formulated by François Perroux, (2) The concept of circular and cumulative causality - proposed by Gunnar Myrdal and (3) The concept of path dependence – proposed by Douglas Cecil North. The development of the Georgian regions has an unbalanced character, as evidenced by the existence of the motor units, so-called growth poles (Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi) whose presence determines the level and dynamics of the country's development. The socio-economic development of Georgia’s regions should be viewed through the prism of historical and social conditions, and is dependent on unforeseen events (e.g. the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia regaining its independence or the global economic crisis). Furthermore, available statistical data show that in relation to development processes taking place in the area of the country under study, there is the occurrence of a vicious circle mechanism, described by Myrdal, in which wealthier areas (with growth poles within their boundaries) are developing more and more rapidly and poor regions are characterized by a deepening stagnation. The selection of theoretical concepts also refers to the specifics of factors in Georgia's regional development. The country is currently experiencing prolonged transformation processes, so it is difficult for Georgia to base its development on modern, intangible factors, e.g. knowledge, innovations and technological progress to which researchers from all over the world currently refer, e.g. under the popular endogenous growth theory or concepts of "learning regions”. This presentation is built on older concepts, based on "traditional", largely material development factors, which seem to more accurately relate the characteristics of the socio-economic development of Georgian regions. The presented results are part of the research project No. 2018/31/N/HS4/00178 funded by the Polish National Science Centre.
Region, Development, Georgia, Theory, Theoretical approach